What should a clever moose eat? Natural history, ecology, and the North Woods

John Pastor

Research output: Book/ReportBook

8 Scopus citations


How long should a leaf live? When should blueberries ripen? And what should a clever moose eat? Questions like these may seem simple or downright strange-yet they form the backbone of natural history, a discipline that fostered some of our most important scientific theories, from natural selection to glaciation. Through careful, patient observations of the organisms that live in an area, their distributions, and how they interact with other species, we gain a more complete picture of the world around us, and our place in it. In What Should a Clever Moose Eat?, John Pastor explores the natural history of the North Woods, an immense and complex forest that stretches from the western shore of Lake Superior to the far coast of Newfoundland. The North Woods is one of the most ecologically and geologically interesting places on the planet, with a host of natural history questions arising from each spruce or sugar maple. From the geological history of the region to the shapes of leaves and the relationship between aspens, caterpillars, and predators, Pastor delves into a captivating range of topics as diverse as the North Woods themselves. Through his meticulous observations of the natural world, scientists and nonscientists alike learn to ask natural history questions and form their own theories, gaining a greater understanding of and love for the North Woods-and other natural places precious to them.In the tradition of Charles Darwin and Henry David Thoreau, John Pastor is a joyful observer of nature who makes sharp connections and moves deftly from observation to theory. Take a walk in John Pastor’s North Woods-you’ll come away with a new appreciation for details, for the game trails, beaver ponds, and patterns of growth around you, and won’t look at the natural world in the same way again.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIsland Press-Center for Resource Economics
Number of pages302
ISBN (Electronic)9781610916783
ISBN (Print)9781610917483
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Pastor.


  • Adirondacks
  • Balsam fir
  • Beaver
  • Blueberries
  • Boreal forest
  • Fire
  • Food web
  • Glaciation
  • Ice sheet
  • Lake Superior
  • Life cycles
  • Life histories
  • Maine
  • Maple
  • Minnesota
  • Moose
  • Moraines
  • Natural history
  • North Woods
  • Pine
  • Pollen analysis
  • Spruce
  • Spruce budworms
  • Tent caterpillar
  • Voyageurs


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